For my second portfolio piece, I intend to create a tool that automatically generates a joint-driven facial rig for humanoid characters. The system is based on the tool developed by Jeremy Ernst from Epic Games (presented as 'Fast and Efficient Facial Rigging for Gears of War 3' at GDC 2011) but incorporating techniques from Tim Callaway's curve-blendshape rig (such techniques were implemented in the Goofy Facial Rig from last semester).
The purpose of the tool is to complete the facial setup for the characters of both Neon Night Riders and Hit, by using Faceshift motion capture data to quickly enhance the performance of all the characters. Since the characters already have controls on the eyeballs, eyelids and jaw, the functionality that the tool would automate is the following:
The tool would give two types of controllers for animation: Osipa-style controls inside the viewport and a docked GUI with sliders (this one would work across all characters (not scene dependent). The user of the tool will only need to position a set of NURBs curves by snapping them to the vertices of the face and run the command to create the whole system. The curves used to create the expression blendshapes would be 'exposable' to the user so that he/she can tweak the look to match the character. To increase the flexibility of the rig, individual on-face controllers would also be created.
Examples of the desired functionality can be seen here: